“I’m looking forward to the future, and that’s a good thing,
because it’s coming” – Anon.
Already a year has passed since Boris declared the first UK lockdown. Now there’s over 121 million cases of COVID19 worldwide; 4.2 million in the UK and mercifully, less than 30,000 in Australia. The UK has a population of around 68 million and already an incredible 24 million (almost the population of Australia) have had their first vaccination jab. I’m happy to report that figure includes us.
The vaccine rollout in the UK is quite impressive and is example of what the Brits are famous for. We had our first jab a week ago and we’re booked in for a second jab in 12 weeks. Mild tiredness and a sore arm is all we both experienced. With summer almost upon us (no proof yet, mind you), it’s certainly a step in the right direction as we prepare our imminent departure.
Living ‘off the grid’ and living a simple life has made the past year a lot easier for us than many others, and we’re grateful for that. But now our focus is to get outta here and continue our voyages.
With everything closed during lockdown, we’ve had no distractions and have busied ourselves keeping our Blue Heeler in ship-shape and making sure all is ready for ocean passages.
To make Blue Heeler even more prepared for offshore sailing and anchoring in tropical islands (can’t wait!), we finally bought some solar panels to fit onto the bimini roof we installed in 2013.
We’ve always planned to fit solar panels over the past seven years, but never found panels that were the right size, the best wattage, and the best price. Our bimini size was the deciding factor and sizing the panels was a little like a jigsaw.
Here’s a short video on the installation of the solar panels plus the MPPT controller.
Researching the right panel took us down the road of looking at semi-flexible panels. While they would have looked great aesthetically, they cost twice as much and allegedly live half as long as solid panels, so those on Facebook tell me. The three new Victron 175W panels on the bimini roof, plus 250W on the davit, give us a total of 775W – triple the solar of previous. The VictronConnect app shows the solar input and even with the sun low on the horizon it’s pumping in plenty of amps into our batteries. So now, we just need to find some sun…
Next week we depart Southsea and make our way to Southampton where Blue Heeler will be hauled out so we can paint the bottom and have a surveyor inspect the hull for insurance purposes. The forward cabin is filled with 4x 2.5 litre tins of antifoul, paint rollers, thinners, and everything else we need to do the job so hopefully we won’t be on the hard stand for long. The way it’s going here in the UK, non-essential shops and business are likely to begin opening after Easter so things are starting to look a little more positive.
Can’t wait to be back out on the water. Just need a little more sunshine and warmth.